Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 3 April 2018

Infamous unknown gunmen of Juba


By Isaiah Makuei Kulang

Over the past few months, a new vocabulary was introduced into the South Sudanese lingua. These two words ‘unknown gunmen’, have become the phrase with which the government refers to the angel of death that has reared its ugly head within our society.

For a while now, we have seen and some of us have indeed experienced the hidden and devilish hand of the said unknown gunmen snap the life of both prominent personalities such as the recent case of Colonel John Malou, who was an instructor at Dr. John Garang Military Command Staff while on holiday in Juba to the very first reported murder by this infamous group of Isaiah Abraham, a young journalist who had cut his niche in the industry and this was evident from the fiery articles and commentaries he wrote.

The most unfortunate element of this conundrum is the very fact that it is government agencies that birthed and have continuously propagated the existence of this insidious group. From the very first incident that occurred and was reported, no investigations have ever been conducted and if they have, no tangible conclusions have been drawn since to date no meaningful arrests or prosecutions have so far been proffered against any individual or group of persons. For anyone moment I don’t doubt the fact that as a very young nation we are yet to modernize our investigative agencies, however, it is near impossible that the said security agencies lack the requisite capacity to investigate and bring to book those responsible.

In my analysis, what actually compounds the situation is the fact that all these hideous and cold-blooded murders have left a trail. There is a famous saying that if you want to understand an event then you must join the dots backwards. Indeed, this saying has proven true to the tee. A very careful analysis shows the deaths are interrelated and there is a chain of causation. First and foremost, the interesting element is that all these deaths save for one are of individuals who are of Dinka extraction, with the only exception being Bol Deng Miyen from Abyei.

The second element of this chain is the fact that most of these deaths are either of individuals who hail from Greater Bahr el Ghazal regions of Aweil and Greater Lakes State. Is it not a coincidence that this is the very same pattern and shape the recent dismissals in government have formed? It is evident that in Juba currently, being remotely associated with Gen. Malong and/or hail from Lakes State seems treasonous.

The third element to this circus is the fact that all these individuals are critics of President Salva Kiir. What an unfortunate coincidence. In Juba, being a member of the Dinka extraction it now seems one has to suspend his thinking and sing praises to the government since it is a Dinka led dictatorship. It is often stated that Dinka critics are akin to a snake in your house. You are better off hitting its head before it turns its fangs towards your heel. It is evident that Dinka critics are now endangered species.

In order for those responsible to achieve their evil purposes, forced disappearances and kidnappings orchestrated by those close to the centre of power against those perceived as enemies has become the rule rather than the exception. From the death of Isaiah Abraham, Peter Julius Moi, activist Deng Bol Miyen to the recent killing of three brothers Deng Mour Deng Kuach, Kon Mour Deng Kuach, and Ayuel Muor Deng Kuach. Another Civil Society Leader, Deng Athuai Mawiir, a Dinka from then Warrap State escaped death by a whisker after being brutally beaten and left for dead only to be rescued by good Samaritans. He has since not been heard from and one only hopes that the purveyors of this criminal enterprise have forgiven his perceived transgressions and he has been let to live.

It is quite confounding that the infamous unknown gunmen rose from the ashes and straddle through the streets of Juba unhindered and have been granted access and protection. Juba, for those of us who are familiar with its surroundings, is quite a small town still trying to rebuild. If security cannot be provided, it then beats the essence of having a government in the first place. It is a sad joke for government to assert that it is not aware of who the unknown gunmen are.

What irks the most is the fact that the security forces are complacent in these heinous acts. One of their own has been brutally murdered yet they don’t seem moved.

To this point, I am in no doubt therefore that these unknown gunmen are the works of the National Security Services at the behest of the Head of State. The unknown gunmen are the government itself and ultimate liability and responsibility lie squarely at the President’s feet.

The author is a student in law. he can be reached at isaiahkulang@gmail.com.

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